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PAL / SECAM Transfer

Have you or a member of your family ever lived abroad or received tapes from family overseas?

If so, it’s very likely that any of the video tapes you have are PAL format tapes. The good news is that we can absolutely Convert PAL or SECAM format tapes to Digital.

PAL (Phase Alternating Lines) is a system of colour encoding for analog video that was used almost everywhere BUT in North America. You’ll see that your tapes likely all say NTSC, the North American system. Video tapes are universal, so even if yours are labeled with NTSC, if they were recorded on a PAL configured camera then they were encoded as PAL tapes. This new encoding system became popular in the 1950s when the standards of NTSC encoding were insufficient due to the potential for poor transmission in Western European countries that created a lot of issues with colour, so PAL was developed as a workaround.

PAL, which stands for “Phase Alternating Line” was developed in Hannover, Germany and patented in 1962. VCRs in the United States were built to be compatible with NTSC formats. While PAL tapes can sometimes play on VCRs, the image will be distorted, especially the colour, which can disappear entirely. The PAL encoding system was designed to make up for some weaknesses in the NTSC system, particularly with the colour. As a result, PAL tapes are by default 20% higher resolution than NTSC encoded tapes, with 576 visible lines to 480.
Many countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and South America used PAL encoding for their videotapes. If you know or suspect that your videotapes were created in these regions, it’s likely they will have been encoded as such.

SECAM is an abbreviation for Sequential Color and Memory. This video format is used in many Eastern countries such as the USSR, China, Pakistan, France, and a few others. Like PAL, a SECAM picture is also made up of 625 interlaced lines and is displayed at a rate of 25 frames per second.

When we transfer PAL video to Digital, we capture in the exact frame rate and resolution to maintain the highest playback quality.

If you have any PAL videotapes lying around your garage or attic, get in touch with us to convert them over to digital.

To get started on your project just visit https://precisiontransfers.com/product/pal-secam-vhs-to-digital/ or ask us any questions you have about the benefits of digitizing your video tapes.

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